THERE was heartache for the Bandits after a last-gasp basket by the Bears saw Weymouth crash out of the SABA Senior Cup at the semi-final stage.

The Tandoori Bandits have had an exceptional run of results in the SABA Senior Cup, playing some of the top teams from within the SABA First Division.

The Tandoori Bandits had already played the Bears twice this year where they had lost on both occasions, so this was to be a big challenge for the Seaside outfit.

A late change in the Bandits’ usual defensive set-up saw them change from the typical man-to-man defence to the rigid zone defence and this seemed to start the game off at an electric pace, with them trying to prove a point to the Bournemouth side.

Strong drives from star Dzintars Kalkis and dramatic defensive stands by key man Ian Manley seemed to be too much for the league winners as Weymouth steamed to a 16-12 lead in the first quarter.

With the Bears already looking tired, the Bandits carried on their charge, dominating with a well-organised and energetic zone defence, ensuring the Bears only scored 11 points in this quarter.

This period also saw the introduction of Ben Stokey and his rebounding, which had been missing for parts of the season through injury.

On the offensive end of the court, Vatoldas Balciunas beat two Bears players to score on several occasions and the end of the half saw Weymouth leading 34-21.

In the second half, the game then changed, the Bears with their experience and quality, took hold and they starting working to reduce Weymouth’s advantage. Bournemouth managed six unanswered points until Chris Canham forced several steals, turning defence into a quick offence and taking the ball to the line for free throws.

Youngster Josh Turner played an integral part of this quarter for the Bandits, to control the play on offence.

Despite the Bears’ fight back, Wey-mouth still controlled the game at 47-41.

The fourth quarter saw the Bears still on the offensive and with some long-range three point efforts, they wiped out the deficit and turned it into a positive.

Now with Weymouth trailing, Canham called a time out and reshuffled the defence again to the more familiar man to man, this again flipped the game around as Tandoori got stuck into Bears’ attacks.

Weymouth managed to tie the game but the Bears struck back to clinch a late winner.

Canham said: “This was a tough game against the league winners in the cup and was quite daunting, but the guys played really well with some of the best individual performances this year, I feel.”

Bandits: Dzintars Kalkis 29, Ian Manley 10, Vatoldas Balciunas 10, Chris Canham 5, Jordan Daniels 8, Josh Turner, Ben Stokey.